Ermonela Jaho’s vivid interpretations and her exceptional identification with the roles she performs are highlighted in all her reviews. Over the last year, standing ovations have followed her from Sydney to London and everywhere else in between, with Australia’s Daily Telegraph describing her as “an unstoppable phenomenon”, The Independent as “the best Madama Butterfly London as seen in years”, and Germany’s Die Welt describing her in Munich as “the undisputed star of the evening.” Ermonela Jaho’s performances were recognized with the presentation of the International Opera Readers Award in 2016, and earlier in 2018, she was nominated in the Best Female Singer category.
The 2019/20 season marks a number of significant debuts for Jaho: her first Adrianna Lecouvreur for her debut with Opéra de Marseille, her first Iris at the Teatro Real in Madrid, and her debut with Opéra de Monte-Carlo as Violetta in La Traviata. She will also return to the Opéra national de Paris as Mimì in La Bohème, to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Desdemona in Otello, to the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Buuterfly, to the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona as Liú in Turandot, and to the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich as Violetta and Mimì.
In demand across the world, Jaho is particularly recognized for her portrayals of Violetta in La Traviata, Madama Butterfly and Suor Angelica in Il trittico. In the 2018/19 season, Jaho reprised the role of Suor Angelica at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Lotte de Beer’s production, which premièred in December 2017. Of Jaho’s performance under Kirill Petrenko, the Dutch newspaper Trouw said: “In Suor Angelica, Ermonela Jaho’s interpretation reached new depths – both dramatically and musically – and was the sensation of the evening.”
Madama Butterfly is another role Jaho reprised for the Bayerische Staatsoper in 2019, which she also recently sang at New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. From the tragic to the comic and the unknown, this past season also saw Jaho return to Puccini’s La Rondine for the Deutsche Oper Berlin and take on the role of Anna in the one-act version of the composer’s first opera Le Villi, not heard publicly since 1884, and presented in the autumn by Opera Rara at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Her recording of Leoncavallo’s Zazà with Opera Rara was nominated for a 2017 International Opera Award.
Jaho’s Violetta is equally in demand, and during the 2018/19 season, she brought her interpretation back to the Opéra national de Paris, Covent Garden and the Staatsoper Berlin. Jaho has portrayed Verdi’s tragic heroine in more than fifteen opera houses, from the Metropolitan Opera to the Sydney Opera House, as well as in Vienna, Munich, Verona, Madrid, Stuttgart, Marseilles, Stockholm, Hamburg, Lyon, Buenos Aires and on tour in Japan with the Royal Opera House.
In addition to her portrayals of opera’s most famous Italian heroines, from operas by Bellini, Donizetti, Puccini, Rossini and Verdi, Ermonela Jaho’s broad and diverse repertoire spans Massenet and Offenbach – she recently sang in the première of Thaïs in Beijing and made her Dutch National Opera debut as Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann – as well as operas by Auber, Bizet, Chabrier, Gounod, Handel, Milhaud, Mozart, Poulenc, Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Johann Strauss, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. The 2018/19 season was framed by Jaho’s role debut as Valentine in Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots in Paris and her return to Opera Australia to sing Anna Bolena in the first of their Donizetti Three Queens Trilogy.
Now a resident of New York, Ermonela Jaho was born in Albania and began to take singing lessons when she was just six. At the age of fourteen, she was taken to the Tirana Opera House for the first time to hear La traviata and determined to become an opera singer. At nineteen, she won a scholarship to study with Katia Ricciarelli in Mantua, and a year later moved to Rome to continue her studies at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Over the next years, Jaho won singing competitions in Milan, Ancona and Rovereto, and began her professional career appearing in roles at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna (Mimì, La Bohème); Teatro La Fenice, Venice (Susanna, Le nozze di Figaro); Teatro Verdi Trieste (Micaëla, Carmen); and Wexford Festival Opera (Irène, Sapho).